Food & Drink, Libations

Write drunk; edit sober: Seelbach cocktail

As a young Army officer, F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed at Louisville’s Camp Taylor in 1918 and often visited the Seelbach Hotel. Legend has it that Fitzgerald first began writing the Great Gatsby on cocktail napkins from the hotel’s Old Seelbach Bar. It was here, around this time where the Seelbach cocktail originated. Named after the place it was created, the Seelbach is a classic mix of bourbon, Cointreau and both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. It is likely that Fitzgerald drank this cocktail while there.

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The recipe was lost during prohibition, but in the early 1990s it was rediscovered by the hotel manager in old record books. Since then, it has been a popular drink during the Kentucky Derby along with the Mint Julep.

This drink has a lot of flavour; especially with a deeper, rich bourbon like Boker’s, which has a high alcohol content of over 60%. The strong bourbon mixed with the strong bitters will be dulled by the champagne, but the flavours will still shine through. Be careful with this one, it packs a punch.

Seelbach Cocktail:
1 oz bourbon
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
chilled champagne or sparkling wine
Garnish: Orange twist